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Libya: GNA recaptures towns near Tunisia border from Haftar |NationalTribune.com

Forces allied with Libya’s internationally-recognised Government of National Accord (GNA) say they have recaptured two towns near the Tunisian border from eastern-based renegade military commander Khalifa Haftar’s forces. “Our heroic forces have entered the towns of Bader and Tiji amid welcome from their residents,” the media office of the Burkan Al-Ghadab (Volcano of Rage) Operation, the government-led…

Libya: GNA recaptures towns near Tunisia border from Haftar |NationalTribune.com

Forces allied with Libya’s internationally-recognised Government of National Accord (GNA) say they have recaptured two towns near the Tunisian border from eastern-based renegade military commander Khalifa Haftar’s forces.
“Our heroic forces have entered the towns of Bader and Tiji amid welcome from their residents,” the media office of the Burkan Al-Ghadab (Volcano of Rage) Operation, the government-led counteroffensive launched last April, said in a statement on Facebook on Tuesday.
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Libya’s GNA recaptures strategic al-Watiya airbase

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On Monday, forces allied to the GNA retook the strategic al-Watiya airbase south of the capital, Tripoli. The base had been under Haftar’s control since 2014.
Analysts say losing the base, one of the main strongholds for Haftar’s forces in western Libya, is a significant blow to Haftar’s year-long campaign to seize the capital from the GNA.
After losing control of the base, Ahmed al-Mesmari, the spokesperson for Haftar’s Libyan National Army (LNA) said on Tuesday Libya’s eastern-based forces had withdrawn from some embattled areas of the capital Tripoli.
However, al-Mesmari said in the televised speech that the base had been abandoned as part of a long-planned strategic decision and that only old, obsolete equipment was left there.
He said the forces had carried out a “redistribution and repositioning in the battlefronts, disengaging from some crowded residential areas”.
“This move was not made in the spur of the [moment]; it was planned for months. We’ve been pulling out strategical equipment and heavy military gear from the base,” al-Mesmari said.
“Only yesterday orders were given from personnel to withdraw under our air cover. The withdrawal was successful, and we’ve moved the personnel and all the weaponry and ammunition.
“We have our own plans and we will recapture the airbase.”

GNA military spokesman Mohammed Kanunu inspects the al-Watiya airbase after its allied forces recaptured it [Hazem Turkia/Anadolu Agency]

GNA forces retook the al-Watiya airbase after weeks of attempts, their biggest advance in a year that deprives the LNA of its only airfield near Tripoli.
After taking the base, they paraded what they said was a Russian-made Pantsir air defence system mounted on a truck, along with an Arabic manual.
GNA Minister of Interior Fathi Bashagha said on Twitter that “Haftar’s chance of success is now effectively zero” following his loss of Watiya.
‘Losing momentum’
Haftar’s forces have been fighting for more than a year to capture Tripoli, the seat of the GNA, with more than 1,000 killed in the violence.
The GNA, recognised by the United Nations, has moved onto the front foot in the war since January with increased military help from Turkey. The LNA, under Haftar, is supported by the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Russia and Egypt.
Violence between the two sides has raged in recent weeks despite repeated international calls for a humanitarian truce in Libya to focus on the fight against the coronavirus.
Libya has been in turmoil since the NATO-backed overthrow of late ruler Muammar Gaddafi in 2011.
The UN imposed an arms embargo on Libya after Gaddafi’s removal, but it has been repeatedly violated.
Al Jazeera’s Mahmoud Abdelwahed reporting from Tripoli said the loss of the al-Watiya airbase for Haftar’s forces has changed the balance of power in other front lines namely in southern Tripoli.
“The spokesman of Haftar’s forces stated that they are repositioning, regrouping and this is interpreted as he’s paving the way for a kind of withdrawal,” Abdelwahed said.
After recapturing Tiji and Bader, government forces have since moved on to the town of Asabi’a, another Haftar stronghold, Abdelwahed said. Tarhuna now remains the only major stronghold for Haftar’s forces in western Libya.

A large cache of weapons and ammunition was also seized by the GNA after the takeover of al-Watiya airbase from Haftar’s forces [Hazem Turkia/Anadolu Agency]

“It’s clear that Haftar’s forces are losing momentum, especially [considering] the series of setbacks they suffered over the two months,” Abdelwahed said.
“They lost six strategic cities and towns along the western coast in mid-April, the strategic al-Watiya airbase on Monday, Tiji and Bader this morning in the western mountain. And Asabi’a has almost fallen to the government forces. The question now is whether or not Haftar’s forces will withdraw to the city of Tarhuna.”
He added that government forces say they will continue “defending Tripoli until they repel the attack by Haftar’s forces in southern Tripoli”.
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COVID-19: US passes ‘unfathomable’ 200,000 death toll |NationalTribune.com

Sorry, we can’t find the page that you are looking for. Don’t let that stop you from visiting some of our other great related content.EXPLORE MOREPalestine quits Arab League role in protest over Israel dealsPalestine was meant to chair Arab League meetings for next six months, but FM Riyad al-Maliki has declined the position.At UN,…

COVID-19: US passes ‘unfathomable’ 200,000 death toll |NationalTribune.com

Sorry, we can’t find the page that you are looking for. Don’t let that stop you from visiting some of our other great related content.EXPLORE MOREPalestine quits Arab League role in protest over Israel dealsPalestine was meant to chair Arab League meetings for next six months, but FM Riyad al-Maliki has declined the position.At UN, Qatar emir questions world inaction on Israeli occupationQatar’s leader says Israel continues to carry out ‘flagrant violation of international resolutions’.Lebanon: Hezbollah arms depot blast caused by ‘technical error’Lebanon’s official news agency said explosion took place in southern village of Ein Qana, about 50km south of Beirut.
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Iran says ‘internal agents’ may be responsible for Natanz blast |NationalTribune.com

Tehran, Iran – The Iranian government said on Tuesday there are strong suspicions that “internal agents” played a role in a massive explosion that occurred at a key nuclear facility earlier this year. On July 2, a fire ripped through a building at Natanz, a major uranium enrichment site. Satellite images showed it caused the…

Iran says ‘internal agents’ may be responsible for Natanz blast |NationalTribune.com

Tehran, Iran – The Iranian government said on Tuesday there are strong suspicions that “internal agents” played a role in a massive explosion that occurred at a key nuclear facility earlier this year.
On July 2, a fire ripped through a building at Natanz, a major uranium enrichment site. Satellite images showed it caused the roof to collapse and parts of the building were blackened by the blaze.
“One of the strong theories is based on internal agents being involved in the incident,” government spokesman Ali Rabiei told reporters at a news conference, according to the Iranian Labour News Agency (ILNA).

“The issue is being seriously reviewed by the country’s security organisations and we will announce the results after things are clear.”
It is the first time an Iranian official specifically pointed to the possibility of an inside job for the blast.
In late August, Iran’s Atomic Energy Organization confirmed the damage to the facility was the result of “sabotage”.
“But how this explosion took place and with what materials … will be announced by security officials in due course,” spokesman Behrouz Kamalvandi said at the time, citing “security reasons” for not disclosing further information.
‘Sabotage is certain’
In early September, Kamalvandi announced Natanz saboteurs “have been identified” but refrained from discussing further details, including whether internal agents were complicit.
On Tuesday, Rabiei also reiterated that “sabotage is certain” but the incident still needs to be investigated due to its complexities.
The desert Natanz site, much of which is underground, is one of several Iranian facilities regularly monitored by inspectors from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), the UN nuclear watchdog.
Following the explosion, international media reports indicated Israel may have been behind the attack. Israel has been deliberately vague, neither confirming nor denying involvement while stressing the danger of a nuclear-armed Iran.

“Everyone can suspect us in everything and all the time, but I don’t think that’s correct,” Israeli Defence Minister Benny Gantz said days after the attack.
Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi also said “Iran cannot be allowed to have nuclear capabilities”, adding to that end, “We take actions that are better left unsaid.”
IAEA-Iran relations
September’s announcement that Iran knows the saboteurs behind the Natanz explosion came one week after IAEA Director General Rafael Mariano Grossi visited the country.
The trip was successful, leading to Iran granting access to two suspected former nuclear sites that the UN watchdog wished to inspect.
“In this present context, based on analysis of available information to the IAEA, the IAEA does not have further questions to Iran and further requests for access to locations other than those declared by Iran,” the IAEA and Iranian officials said in a joint statement following the visit.
In a speech during the 64th session of the General Conference of the IAEA on Monday, the president of Iran’s Atomic Energy Organization Ali Akbar Salehi referred to the Natanz incident.

“These malicious acts need to be condemned by the agency and member states,” he said via video conference, adding “Iran reserves its rights to protect its facilities and take necessary actions against any threat as appropriate.”
Salehi also urged the UN watchdog not to compromise its “impartiality, independence and professionalism”.
Iran, UN and the United States are locked in a major disagreement centred around the landmark 2015 nuclear deal signed between Iran and world powers, which US President Donald Trump unilaterally abandoned in May 2018.
The US on Sunday declared it reinstated all UN sanctions on Iran, an announcement that was roundly rejected by the United Nations Security Council as lacking legal basis.
The US is trying to indefinitely extend an arms embargo on Iran that is set to expire in October as part of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), the formal name of the nuclear deal.
Iran, which has always maintained it never pursued nuclear weapons, accepted the nuclear deal that removed all UN sanctions in exchange for curbs on its nuclear programme.
The US reneged on the deal, unilaterally imposing a harsh campaign of sanctions that have hit almost all the productive sectors of the Iranian economy. US sanctions have also targeted Iranian officials and organisations.
In response, starting exactly one year after US sanctions were imposed and other parties failed to guarantee economic benefits promised Iran under the deal, Iran started gradually scaling back its nuclear commitments.

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Palestine quits Arab League role in protest over Israel deals |NationalTribune.com

Palestine was meant to chair Arab League meetings for next six months, but FM Riyad al-Maliki has declined the position.Palestine has quit its current chairmanship of Arab League meetings, the Palestinian foreign minister said on Tuesday, condemning as dishonourable any Arab agreement to establish formal ties with Israel. Palestinians see the deals that the United…

Palestine quits Arab League role in protest over Israel deals |NationalTribune.com

Palestine was meant to chair Arab League meetings for next six months, but FM Riyad al-Maliki has declined the position.Palestine has quit its current chairmanship of Arab League meetings, the Palestinian foreign minister said on Tuesday, condemning as dishonourable any Arab agreement to establish formal ties with Israel.
Palestinians see the deals that the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain signed with Israel in Washington a week ago as a betrayal of their cause and a blow to their quest for an independent state in Israeli-occupied territory.
Earlier this month, the Palestinians failed to persuade the Arab League to condemn nations breaking ranks and normalising relations with Israel.
Palestine was supposed to chair Arab League meetings for the next six months, but Foreign Minister Riyad al-Maliki told a news conference in the occupied West Bank city of Ramallah that it no longer wanted the position.
“Palestine has decided to concede its right to chair the League’s council [of foreign ministers] at its current session. There is no honour in seeing Arabs rush towards normalisation during its presidency,” Maliki said.
In his remarks, he did not specifically name the UAE and Bahrain, Gulf Arab countries that share with Israel concern over Iran. He said Arab League Secretary-General Ahmed Aboul Gheit had been informed of the Palestinian decision.

Palestinians rally against Bahrain-Israel normalisation

The Palestinian leadership wants an independent state based on the de facto borders before the 1967 war, in which Israel occupied the West Bank and the Gaza Strip and annexed East Jerusalem.
Arab countries have long called for Israel’s withdrawal from illegally occupied land, a just solution for Palestinian refugees and a settlement that leads to the establishment of a viable, independent Palestinian state, in exchange for establishing ties with it.
In a new move addressing internal Palestinian divisions, officials from West Bank-based President Mahmoud Abbas’s Fatah faction and the Gaza-based Hamas movement were due to hold reconciliation talks in Turkey on Tuesday.
Hamas seized the Gaza Strip in 2007 from Fatah forces during a brief round of fighting. Differences over power-sharing have delayed implementation of unity deals agreed since then.
Source : Al Jazeera, News Agencies
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